I know, things are finally warming up outside. Or at least that's what the calendar indicates ought to be happening out there. But it's gonna take more than a few semi-sunny, 60-degree days to bake the chill from my bones.
Like nearly everything, from my faulty memory to my whirling stomach to my numb and tingly feet, I blame chemotherapy. Because thanks to a head that is suddenly more bare than the bottom half of a bouncing baby boy, and a body style that has gone from pleasing and plump to scary and skinny, I'm absolutely freezing most of the time.
Lucky for me, the chilly-willies, like almost every chemo-effect, have inspired a happy, gratifying display of kindness on the part of many folks around these parts. In other words, they've got me covered in a generous variety of warm, wondrous ways.
Like the hand-me-down I received from one dear friend; a one-of-a-kind electric lap robe that had belonged to her late father. It's the perfect sidekick to my recliner and the wool cap I wear when I'm really shivering. Just plug it in, turn it on, lean back and wait to be enveloped in a soft, soothing cloud of essential warmth.
That same friend was the angel who delivered a handmade prayer shawl from the ladies at the First United Methodist Church in Galva. It's cool and cozy and remarkably masculine thanks to its unique knitted pattern:
It is, believe it or not, camouflage.
Or what I refer to as a "camo-chemo" blanket.
The FedEx man delivered a surprise gift from my oldest pal, a former childhood neighbor who has remained one of my closest friends through the years, despite the fact that she moved to California with her family way back in grade school. She turned her quilting skills into a thick, cozy blanket with a bright jungle theme that has been such a hit since its arrival that my grandkids and I battle over it nearly every evening.
My youngest grandson, John Patrick, was the bearer of the most recent fuzzy treasure when I received a big, billowy bundle from his class at Visitation School. Mrs. Fite's kindergartners each sent a sweet, special note, which accompanied a message from her explaining that the lovely shawl enclosed was the work of the talented ladies from Kewanee's First Methodist Church.
"Here, Grandpa!" he exclaimed as he thrust the package into my arms.
He watched carefully as I unwrapped it, and crawled into my lap as I looked at the first of the notes, then slowly held the shawl to my face. Like all the blankets that have come my way, it was wonderful and beautiful. I breathed deep and felt myself filled with the love and peace and prayers it contained.
In short, it was pretty well perfect.
Well, maybe just maybe a little damp around the edges.
I think you know what I mean.